LIMA — City Council will wade into the issue of liquor permits when it takes up bars and police calls at a committee meeting April 15.
Council must decide by its next meeting, April 22, whether it wants to object to the renewal of any liquor permits in Lima. The state annually sends communities lists of permits seeking renewal. It is City Council’s decision whether to object; if council does, the state holds a hearing on the renewal.
On Monday, Police Chief Kevin Martin provided City Council with a list of calls for police service to businesses with permits to sell alcohol. At the top of the list is Harry’s Hideaway, 1452 N. Cable Road, with 152 calls for service in the past 12 months. Those calls include assaults, fights, intoxicated people and loud music.
In his informational letter, Martin does not ask for council to object to the permit renewal.
On Monday night, councilors Sam McLean, Teresa Adams and Jesse Lowe asked for the permit issue to go to committee, so they could receive more information from police regarding the number and kinds of conversations police have had with Harry’s Hideaway owners and managers.
“I want to make sure they’ve been given an opportunity to address this,” McLean said. “I’m not prepared to take someone’s license away shut them down without that.”
A year ago, council voted 6 to 1 to object to the renewal of a liquor license for the Brownstone bar after Lima police recommended it. Lowe was the lone councilor to vote no.
An investigation by The Lima News followed, showing other bars with far more calls for police service. One of the key components in seeking the closure was what police called a higher number of calls — 47 — to the Brownstone. That number, however, didn’t even place the Brownstone in the top five bars for police calls in Lima at the time.
Maj. Chip Protsman said Monday police concerns at the time with the Brownstone were not the number of calls, but other allegations of drug use, after-hours operations and police being locked out of the business. In June, the city brought a misdemeanor charge against Brownstone owner Jason Upthegrove. Upthegrove represented himself, and the city ended up dropping the charge.
Council’s Safety Services Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. April 15 to discuss the liquor permits seeking renewal.